Ukraine has ratified the following documents:
  • Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhumane, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
  • Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women
  • Convention on the Rights of the Child
  • European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
  • International Covenant Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
  • International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
The following documents further define the obligations of Ukraine:
  • Beijing +5: Further Actions and Initiatives to Implement the Beijing Platform for Action
  • Beijing Platform for Action
  • Cairo Programme of Action
  • UN Special Session on HIV/AIDS (UNGASS) Declaration of Commitment
  • Universal Declaration of Human Rights
The documents listed above require Ukraine to protect and promote the following rights:

Right to development
Right to education
Right to equal protection of the law
Right to freedom from inhuman or degrading treatment
Right to highest attainable standard of physical and mental health
Right to housing
Right to just and favorable work conditions
Right to liberty and security of the person
Right to life and survival
Right to marry and found a family
Right to non-discrimination on grounds of age
Right to non-discrimination on grounds of disability (i.e. HIV positive)
Right to non-discrimination on grounds of marital status
Right to non-discrimination on grounds of race and ethnicity
Right to non-discrimination on grounds of sex and gender
Right to non-discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation
Right to private and family life
Right to receive and impart information
Right to the benefits of scientific progress

Constitutional Protection of Rights

The Constitution of Ukraine can be viewed at http://www.rada.kiev.ua/const/conengl.htm

The Constitution of Ukraine is an important tool for the protection and promotion of human rights. It broadly refers to human rights and commits Ukraine to guaranty a good quality of life to its citizens.

The Constitution enables Uganda to translate international agreements into domestic law, and obliges all branches of government to respect and ensure the rights it enunciates.

The Constitution provides for the protection of the following rights, among others. This empowers individuals in making reproductive health decisions, and helps create the economic and social conditions conducive to good sexual and reproductive health.

Right to consent to the "collection, storage, use and dissemination of confidential information" (art. 32)
Right to dignity (art. 28)
Right to an adequate standard of living (including nutrition, housing and clothing) (art. 48)
Right to education (art. 53)
Right to the equal protection of the laws (art. 24)
Right to entrepreneurial activity (art. 42)
Right to freedom of association (art. 36)
Right to freedom of movement (art. 33)
Right to freedom of speech (art. 34)
Right to freedom from torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (art. 28)
Right of children to freedom from violence (art. 52)
Right to health (art. 49)
Right to housing (art. 47)
Right to just and favorable working conditions (art. 43, art. 45)
Right to know about rights and duties (art. 57)
Right to liberty and security (art. 29)
Right to life (art. 27)
Right to marry (art. 51)
Right to private and family life (art. 32)
Right to non discrimination on grounds of race and ethnicity (art. 24)
Right to non discrimination on grounds of sex (art. 24)
Right to non discrimination on grounds of "other characteristics" (art. 24)
Right to own property (art. 41)
Right to participate in the affairs of government (art. 38)
Right to receive and impart information (art. 34)
Right to a safe environment (art. 50)
Right to seek and obtain redress for violations of rights (art. 8, art. 55)
Right to social insurance (art. 46)
Right to work (art. 43)

The Constitution includes other provisions that promote and protect rights relevant for good sexual and reproductive health.

The Constitution further obliges Ukraine to:

  • "create conditions for effective medical service accessible to all citizens" (art. 49)
  • provide free medical care in State and communal health protection institutions (art. 49)
  • "promote the development of medical institutions of all forms of ownership" (art. 49)
  • appropriately fund the "relevant socio-economic, medical and sanitary, health improvement and prophylactic programmes" (art. 49)
  • protect the family, childhood and motherhood (art. 51)
  • protect the health of women and minors in employment (art. 43)
  • protect orphaned children (art. 52)

The Constitution obliges Ukraine to disseminate knowledge and information about the laws that "determine the rights and duties of citizens" (art. 57).

The Constitution further defines the rights of women, which can empower them in making reproductive decisions. Ukraine must:

  • "provide women with opportunities equal to those of men, in public and political, and cultural activity, in obtaining education and in professional training, in work and its remuneration" (art. 24)
  • adopt special measures for the protection of work and health of women (art. 24)
  • establish pension privileges (art. 24)
  • create conditions that enable women to combine work and family life (art. 24)
  • provide legal protection, material and moral support of motherhood and childhood, "including the provision of paid leaves and other privileges to pregnant women and mothers" (art. 24)

Rights that empower women include:

  • right to consent freely to marriage (art. 51)
  • right to equality between spouses within marriage (art. 51)
  • right to paid maternity leave (art. 24)

The Constitution provides for the accountability of the State, by declaring that "the State is answerable to the individual for its activity" (art. 3). The Constitution expressly recognizes the principle of the rule of law and requires it be enforced (art. 8).

Why is that important? It is the value added of human rights to public health to make public authorities accountable for failing to ensure rights. Accountability is also a mechanism to ensure implementation of policies and laws, including those adopted to further individual rights. These provisions are particularly helpful for advocacy activities. For further information or research please contact the Human Rights Working Group.

Finally, the Constitution provides that the list of rights enunciated is not exhaustive, as others may be protected (art. 22). What does that entail? Even if other rights protected under international law are not listed in the Constitution, advocates may use this provision as an argument that those rights uphold policy initiatives improving sexual and reproductive health. This provision also grants advocates an argument against policymakers if they assert that they are not constitutionally required to take measures to protect rights, even if such rights are relevant to sexual and reproductive health.
However, it is possible that this provision is mainly intended to enable broader interpretation of laws in a court context. For more information or additional research, please click on the link "learn more about a specific reproductive health and human rights topic" or contact the Human Rights Working Group.

However, the Constitution allows restrictions to rights in certain cases.

The protection of public health may constitute grounds to restrict rights, including free speech and the collect of information (art. 34), or freedom of association (art. 36).

What do restrictions entail? By authorizing restrictions, it is acknowledged that Ukraine may be confronted with situations that will entail an infringement on rights. In such situations, Ukraine may take measures to address a public health problem without violating its own constitution.

Restrictions are authorized under international law if all of the following conditions are met:

  1. the restriction is provided for and carried out in accordance with the law
  2. the restriction is in the interest of a legitimate objective of general interest (e.g., the protection of public health)
  3. the restriction is strictly necessary in a democratic society to achieve the objective
  4. there are no less restrictive means available to reach the same objective
  5. the restriction is not drafted or imposed arbitrarily, i.e. in an unreasonable or otherwise discriminatory manner